Tipping & Feeding Your Vendors
Our rule of thumb is: you tip vendors who offer you a service, not a product. For example, the vendor who created your invitations wouldn’t necessarily deserve a tip. Now, if you think that the invitation made your wedding beyond amazing, over the top, by all means give them a tip, however, it’s certainly not expected. The vendors you should tip are the ones who are working their butts off to make your day perfect – planner/coordinator, photographer, videographer, band, DJ, etc.
Tipping is gracious and it’s kind, however, it’s up to you whether you tip or not. I tell my clients if there’s a vendor at your wedding or reception that you believe deserves a tip, you should give them one. If there’s a vendor that you feel would normally get a tip, but they didn’t earn it, you’re not obligated to give it.
My clients do not deal with the financial aspect of their wedding on their big day; all tips are put into envelopes and given to my coordinators to distribute at the end of the evening or when that vendor’s service has ended. If you have hired a wedding planner she/he should offer to do this, if they don’t then ask them to.
On the night of your reception, feeding your vendors is a pretty key factor. There are several vendors that work many hours throughout your day and night and they have very little opportunity to take a break because they are busy making your big day vision come true. I know personally, as a planner/coordinator, it’s rare that I ever stop to sit down at any point during a wedding or reception. Many vendors indicate in their contract that you are required to give them a meal, my contract certainly does, not only for myself (your wedding planner/coordinator) but also for the other vendors present. These people are your “wedding team”, the photographers, videographer, band, DJ, etc., and feeding them is simply a matter of treating them with respect.
You don’t want any vendors missing key moments in your evening so it’s crucial that you have very well-built timeline, one that let’s your vendors know when it’s safe to sneak off and grab a quick bite . If you’re working with a planner, this is one invaluable service they provide.
Do not fall into the trap of thinking that your vendors should eat exactly what you and your guests are eating; it’s not necessarily quicker and easier for the chef and, because the vendor meal service inevitably gets pushed back to after guest meal service ( because your guests always come first) this causes complications with your timeline. When the meal is over, people get up and start dancing so (1) your entertainment needs to be performing, (2) your photographer needs to be snapping photos, (3) your videographer needs to be videoing…..you get the idea. What ends up happening is your “wedding team” goes without eating because there’s no time.
So, when you send in your final guest count to your caterer or wedding planner, be sure to include the meals for your vendors and coordinate with your wedding planner a time that they can take a break and eat. This is a really fun and exciting time for you so, in order to make everything as awesome as possible, remember to take care of the vendors that are working so hard to take care of you.